Fundamentals of Social Research
Adam J. McKee, Ph.D.
This content is released as a draft version for comment by the scholarly community. Please do not distribute.
Science, Constructs, and Definitions
In its most general sense, science is merely a way of knowing. More specifically, it is an empirical approach to knowledge. The empirical approach is based on observation. The basic idea of empirical knowledge is nothing new to us; we use it every day when we make observations about the world around us. These “everyday observations” are not quite up to the standards of science. The reason for this is that everyday observations can result misleading generalizations. That is, we reach incorrect conclusions about how the world works. Our focus will be on the social sciences.
Social science is the science of people or groups of people, such as social groups, governmental organizations, societies and their individual and collective behaviors. Social sciences can be classified into disciplines such as psychology (the science of human behaviors), sociology (the science of social groups), and economics (the science of institutions, markets, and economies). We also include the “helping professions,” such as social work and criminal justice. The jargon used may vary from discipline to discipline, but the essence of the social scientific endeavor remains the same.
Modification History File Created: 07/24/2018 Last Modified: 07/24/2018
This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.